January 22nd, 2005

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07:26 pm - on the creation of net identities...
So here's something that has been weighing on my mind. Where did your net identity come from? Some of them, like anukul and jameel are obvious. But most people don't use their real name as an email address or LJ name, presumedly because most people have pretty ordinary names and Mike and Stephanie (or whatever) are just already taken.

So here's the question (or questions really): Where did you get your LJ name? Do you use it other places? Email? Other websites? RPGs? IM? Do people call you that in real life? How did you come up with it? Obviously, a bunch of people on my friends list are wrestlers, and use their gimmick name, but if that's you, where did you come up with that?

For some reason made up names that have no obvious meaning to a person's personality (say qiika and drfell) or that are based on a persons name (either real name or gimmick name - sui66iy and kingdomjames) seem to ring truer to me than ones that are based on something about a person's personality or hobbies (like stuntviolist or dariaphoebe - no offense to either of you), do other people feel like that? I don't think I have any like this on my friends list here, but back when i used to use Epinions a lot, the names that always really bugged me were the ones that were based on an aspect of a loved one, like bobbysmommy or joes_wife or something like that. It just seemed weird that a person chose their identity as an aspect of someone else. Kind of belittling or something?

So the cultural theorist in me is really curious about this sort of thing. Please take a second to leave your name orgins and your thoughts and please point others who I don't know here to do the same. I want to see what people really think about this.

EDIT: Come on, work with me people. So far I only have one additional person that I don't know. I actually want to hear from as many people as possible on this one. papertygre had the right idea. Think of it as a meme.

Current Mood: [mood icon] hungry

(132 comments | Leave a comment)

on the creation of net identities... - on the creation of net identities... - graffiti.maverick Page 2 — LiveJournal

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[User Picture]From: muppetaphrodite Date: January 22nd, 2005 - 09:02 pm (Link)
When I started using text-based BBSes, I was really into Greek mythology, and the fact that I was the only girl on the boards was always a topic of conversation, so I went by "aphrodite". Ran a website under that moniker for a long time in high school as well.

By the time I got to college, I found it a little pretentious to just be running around calling myself the Goddess of Love, so I wanted a modifier that made it more "me" - and after my years as Grover, muppetaphrodite just stuck. I also go by muppetathena in some instances (muppetaphrodite is sometimes too many characters for some systems.)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 04:56 pm (Link)
ego much? ;-) and here I thought you just had the magical ability to make muppets fall in love.
[User Picture]From: xthlcm Date: January 22nd, 2005 - 09:23 pm (Link)
Where did you get your LJ name?

In my freshman year at CMU, I was a practicing Catholic. I'd experienced a renewal of faith due to 1) the youth-oriented services at school ("wow, Catholicism without old people telling me how much I suck!") and 2) a girl. The fact that I went to church every Sunday was unusual among my group of friends. There were also too many people named Matt. So, for the sake of disambiguation, I became "Catholic Matt", eventually shortened to "Catholic".

Even when the guitars got old and the girl dumped a bucket of cold water on me, I kept the name. I always felt that being Catholic was more of an ethnicity than a religion. I shortened it to "Xthlc" as an abbreviation.

Do you use it other places? Email? Other websites? RPGs? IM?

Yep, it's pretty much my UUID. I use it everywhere online, except for my more professional stuff.

Do people call you that in real life?

Some do. Not many. It makes me nostalgic. :)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 04:57 pm (Link)
heh, I remember interviewing at maya and Terry telling me they just hired someone else from cmu and she said her name, and I just sort of automatically said, "oh yeah, Catholic Matt." and then had to explain that it was a nickname. It was vaguely embarassing.
[User Picture]From: inmostlight Date: January 22nd, 2005 - 11:22 pm (Link)
I hate thinking up names, so the vast majority of my account ids are from either (a) the song I'm listening to at the time I need to create the account or (b) whatever's lying on my desk at the time. This one is from the Current 93 Inmost Light trilogy of albums.

The other naming convention I use is words (often nonexistant) that I think sound pleasing phonetically. I use this more often for passwords, though.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 04:58 pm (Link)
I figured yours was something like that. It's the same way you used to name your short stories.
From: inmostlight Date: January 24th, 2005 - 05:00 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: sk4p Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 01:07 am (Link)
sk4p: was my first username at CMU, chosen randomly for me. See this for more details if you're unfamiliar with the scheme. (I know Mav is familiar with it.)

It's usually less taken than "shawn".
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 03:03 am (Link)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 04:59 pm (Link)
heh... you know, it never even occured to me that you were spelling it wrong.
[User Picture]From: rmitz Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 04:41 am (Link)
My LJ name is pretty obvious, but I will write a bit here on other online identities and history.

rmitz was the first internet online identity I used when I joined Chester County InterLink back in the day (esr used to be on there, not that I knew him at the time). I consider this my canonical username. I use it whenever it's convienient to do so. I am bitter at minimum 6 character username restrictions.

The first BBS identity I used was "The Programmer". Again, pretty obvious. Descriptive yes, creative, no. Though it was relatively original in the sense I've not seen the identity used elsewhere, even though it is generic. For door games, I'd use "Ford Prefect", the character I guess I identified with most in the Hitchhiker's series. I credit those books with keeping me from sinking too far into depression back in those days. Nicely whimsical, but sometimes too common.

When I came to CMU, I just missed the "pick your own username" phase and got stuck with the hateful "mitz". So close, and yet so far from my ideal username. So my username is mitz in ECE, Qatar and Andrew. Fortunately, I have rmitz@cmu.edu, as well as rmitz email aliases in ECE and Qatar. I'm rmitz basically everywhere else.

When there are minimum lengths in effect, I have been either rwmitz (which I hate unreasonably) or romanmitz.

I feel zero need to hide my identity behind an alias, and since my name is pretty unique, I can get away with that.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 05:02 pm (Link)
I'm actually pretty amazed that you were ever able to get "The Programmer" in any geek community with like more than 10 people in it.
[User Picture]From: derekbbell Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 06:04 am (Link)
Where did you get your LJ name?

It is my given name. I thought about using a descriptor on my name, such as Marine, or Access, or SQL, or any number of things, but came to the conclusion that they effectively only relate to one aspect of my life and may in fact be transitional, whereas, I thought of LiveJournal as spanning over many, many years.

Do you use it other places?

Orkut.com and maybe a couple of other places online.


I use accessderek@hotmail.com and derek@machinerebel.com, so I general, I will use at least my first name.

Other websites?

Like I said, occasionally


When I play online games (Half-Life CounterStrike, BF: 1942, etc.) my online handle is ImpactSmash. I created that name from a lyric in the song Walkin' on the Sun by Smash Mouth about impact and smash from Smash Mouth. I created ImpactSmash so I could have some anonymity online.


I use ICQ, which is a number of their choosing, and MSN, which is accessderek@hotmail.com.

Do people call you that in real life?

Everybody I know calls me Derek. I never picked up a nickname that stuck. My Mom will sometimes refer to me as 'DB', short for Derek Bruce.

How did you come up with it?

Just my name, dude. Just my name.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 05:04 pm (Link)
hmmm... seems kind of weird that your mom would use a nickname like that. I'm more used to mom's going out of their way to use given names. After all, they gave it. But hey, what do I know? Thanx for answering.
[User Picture]From: ouchfest Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 06:15 am (Link)
I used to live in MUDLOCK 2.0, so named for its phone number. When I moved out to my own place, my new phone number was examined and the other MUDLOCKians decided that my new apartment should be called OUCHFESt. I use it for just about everything now. None of us has those phone numbers anymore, but their legacies live on!

My new phone number has a 1 in it. Useless!
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 05:05 pm (Link)
knew about mudlock, didn't know ouchfest had similar origins.
[User Picture]From: tg2k Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 09:47 am (Link)
There are a few online identities for me.

tg2k--used at CMU, just like sk4p. Of course you know this. People don't generally call me this in real life, though you're free to use the bastardization "tg2kool" (hey, it amuses me, and I have a few accounts with it as my login id as well). I use it in a lot of places because it is not commonly taken, and also if someone from CMU were searching for me in some area, it would probably occur to them to try this. I use it for AIM, although for YM it was derived from my yahoo.com email address (toddgleason). Note that Yahoo! changed the way they do IM and email, and originally my YM ID was actually tg2kool (but you have to use the same account to "link" the email and IM together).

Cool-Man--I'm not sure how this one got started, but it was sometime in high school. And yes, sometimes people do call me this in real life. I put it on my web page at andrew.cmu.edu, and eventually got www.cool-man.org to host it. I don't--at least yet--use it in any IDs or email addresses. Interestingly, you may note that my livejournal ID is tg2k but if you go to my journal then it will show it as "Cool-Man's". That's the problem with LJ--even if you have no entries, you can't change your ID. I didn't quite understand how my account information would show up when I created it, so I experimented and then couldn't change it. Had I to do it over again, I would have picked cool-man for my account ID, and shown "Todd C. Gleason" for my name in the journal.

T-Dogg--here's one most of the CMU folks haven't heard. My friend jonlubbe in the Santa Cruz area called me this a year or so ago while he was on some kind of Snoop Dogg kick, and I found it amusing enough to hang on to it. I just need some place to make it my ID...or maybe register--oh wait--tdogg.com is taken.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 05:09 pm (Link)
if you really care, you actually can change it. you just have to pay them to do so. its in the FAQ
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 10:29 am (Link)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 05:11 pm (Link)
woah... you read the Simarillion over and over again? wow. Anyway. That was interesting. Thanx for taking the time to answer someone you don't know.
[User Picture]From: beststephi Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 10:59 am (Link)
So here's the question (or questions really): Where did you get your LJ name? Do you use it other places? Email? Other websites? RPGs? IM? Do people call you that in real life? How did you come up with it? Obviously, a bunch of people on my friends list are wrestlers, and use their gimmick name, but if that's you, where did you come up with that?

Honestly, I was lazy and since variants of Steph were already taken, and I didn't want to include any last name info being all paranoid and stuff, so I took your idea. Only other place I use it is for aim (I think that came first and I just transferred that to LJ).

Since I'm pretty shy and modest, I actually feel uncomfortable with this username and often think of changing it to something more subtle. I actually hope people mis-read it as "Be Stephi" stuttered. But it's nice that at least someone thinks the name is fitting :).
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 05:12 pm (Link)
but, you ARE the Best Stephi. ;-)
[User Picture]From: kenoubi Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 11:00 am (Link)
“Kenobi” was given to me as a nickname by a girl I had a crush on as a freshman at CMU. I added the “u” for a few reasons: to make it more distinctive, because the English long “o” is actually a diphthong, and because that made it have nicer properties in my invented language of the time, Fazbabn (since unified with ixiel's Diltic to form Ralah).

I use it pretty much everywhere online (sadly, it was already taken on AIM by the time I came up with it). I've just started using the kenoubi.net domain (but the computer that hosts my website is on an internet connection that's totally hosed at the moment—it should be back up soon).

Somewhat oddly, since most people probably assume a Star Wars connection, I didn't see Star Wars at all until my late teens and have no particular attachment to it.

Arguably my personal symbol (used here in tattoo form as my userpic) represents me more, though...
[User Picture]From: kenoubi Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 11:01 am (Link)
Oops, that was the non-tattoo form. This is the tattoo form.
From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 05:13 pm (Link)
From: kenoubi Date: January 25th, 2005 - 06:37 am (Link)
[User Picture]From: theadana Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 01:27 pm (Link)


Where did you get your LJ name? Do you use it other places? Email? Other websites? RPGs? IM? Do people call you that in real life? How did you come up with it?

When I was still in school, my best friend and I used to write messages to each other on the bathroom walls signed with names we had made up. A year of studying Latin inspired the names, and one of them (can't remember anymore whether it was mine or hers) was "thea," referring vaguely to feminine divinity. The other name was an inspiration for early passwords, so I hope it has been long forgotten.

When I needed to create an IM name that wasn't linked to my family's AOL account, I used "thea" as the first half. The second half arose from a bit of bibliomancy using the Encylopedia of Faeries. My finger randomly chose the entry on the Tuatha de Dannan, the tribe of folk dedicated to the Goddess Dana. Thus, I became "theadana."

Theadana became the name I used for all online identities. Even at a young age, I must have understood branding. I use theadana for online RPGs, but not tabletop or live action. Too many people know it as my online identity, and it would be weird.

There are a couple of people who might call me theadana offline, but it's always pretty strange for me. There is a far greater number of people who call me lmarsh, but that's a CMU phenomena. Mostly it's just Laura.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 05:14 pm (Link)

Re: theadana

original. But what I find weird is that you don't remember for sure which of the names was yours. How long ago was it?
From: theadana Date: January 24th, 2005 - 08:02 pm (Link)

Re: theadana

[User Picture]From: jazzyjess Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 02:18 pm (Link)
Well, I believe I picked up my nick in middle school or beginning of high school. I play flute and piano, but mainly saxophone, which is where the "jazzy" part probably came in. Jazzyjess...it fits, I think, no? I use it as a bunch of usernames and have it as a few of my email addresses. But yeah, friends call me that all the time outside of the net.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 05:16 pm (Link)
nice icon btw. And actually, yes, the name does quite suit you.
From: jazzyjess Date: January 24th, 2005 - 07:09 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: wuttd Date: January 23rd, 2005 - 02:20 pm (Link)


I was searching for an ID for AIM, and everything even remotely associated with my name was taken. I didn't have any hobbies or interests passionate enough to be deserving. I had a book open at the time. The first letter of each word in some random sentence spelled WUTTD. "We Underestimate The Total Destruction."
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 24th, 2005 - 05:18 pm (Link)


ah... that makes sense. I had always just assumed you randomly hit keys on the keyboard to come up with it.
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